Two Kerala teachers build 150 houses for the homeless in ten years
Two school teachers in Kerala helped build a house for a homeless student after her father's death in 2011. Ten years later, they have completed the construction of 150 houses for homeless families irrespective of their caste or religion.
Sister Lizzy Chakkalakkal, principal of Our Lady's Convent Girls' School at Thoppumpady in Kochi in Kerala, started the Home Challenge mission with her colleague Lilly Paul to help a student who lived in a precarious shack with her family following her father's death.
The nun pooled funds and started the construction of a home for the girl. "Later on, we came across a similar plight of many of our students and hence decided to initiate the mission which has now become part of the school. A society with no homeless people is the mission," Sister Chakkalakkal told Deccan Herald.
These houses are of around 600 square feet in two cents of land. The 150th house is ready and would be handed over to the beneficiary soon.
Sister Chakkalakkal said that 85 per cent of the beneficiaries were students of the school, while other families, especially those who had differently-abled members, were provided assistance. From daily wage labourers to industrialists, the mission has contributors from different sections of society. Staff, parents, students and former students also regularly contribute to the scheme.
Not just money, people contributed land, building materials and skills to the mission, Sister Chakkalakkal said. This makes it possible to construct decent houses at reasonable costs. The 150th house has come up at around 70 cents of land received as a contribution at Vypeen in Kochi. A majority of the houses were constructed in Kochi.
Sister Chakkalakal said that the Home Challenge initiative of the school has become an inspiration to many schools as well as voluntary organsations to initiate similar drives.